NASA's SpaceX Crew-1 Astronauts to Answer Questions Before Return

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NASA 21 April, 2021 - 12:12pm 12 views

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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Crew-2 mission, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASANASA Updates Launch Date, TV Coverage for Crew-2 Mission

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NASA announced on Wednesday that its highly anticipated SpaceX Crew-2 launch to the International Space Station (ISS) is delayed.

Initially scheduled to liftoff Thursday morning at 6:11 a.m. ET from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, agency leaders confirmed Wednesday that the event is now targeted for 5:49 a.m. ET on Friday. 

The delay, NASA explained in a release, is due to unfavorable weather conditions that were forecast along the flight path for Thursday.

The spacecraft is anticipated to dock at the space station at around 5:10 a.m. ET on Saturday.

At a Tuesday prelaunch news conference, U.S. Space Force's 45th Weather Squadron Launch Weather Officer Brian Cizek said that downrange weather and winds were the agency's biggest concern.

On Wednesday at NASA's SpaceX Crew-2 administrator briefing, Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana explained that they were "worried" about downrange winds and wave heights in case of an "abort" mission. 

"It's going to be absolutely beautiful on Friday morning and we're gonna come out and do it again," he said. 

Acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) SS Manager Junichi Sakai and European Space Agency (ESA) ISS Program Manager Frank de Winne were also in attendance. 

The Crew Dragon Endeavour -- the second crew rotation on a commercial spacecraft mission and the first with two international partner astronauts -- includes NASA's Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet.

Their journey aboard the ISS is slated to last for six months. 

"As Bob mentioned, we've got some inclement weather offshore. Unlike a robotic mission where we just really need to focus on weather here at the launch site, for a crewed mission we need to look downrange and make sure our weather's good for a potential launch escape and recovery of the crew," Jurczyk remarked. " And so, we'll be scheduled to go on Friday."

Jurczyk said he met with the crew members on Tuesday night and they are "ready to go."

"I could not be more proud of the Commerical Crew program and the SpaceX team and the NASA team. And, what they've been able to do to enable reliable, safe, effective transportation to and from [the] station," he concluded. "Third launch in less than a year. Demo-2, Crew-1 and now Crew-2 and looking forward to a great launch on Friday and bringing Crew-1 home next week."

Coverage of prelaunch activities, the launch and docking will air live on NASA Television and the agency's app and website.

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